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Dec 1, 2010

Universal Access and Human rights observed on World Aids Day

HIV/AIDS is in the spotlight around the globe today as World AIDS Day is observed under the theme “Universal Access and Human Rights”. On a global scale, UNAIDS estimates that thirty-three point three million people are currently living with HIV. That staggering figure includes two point five million children. In Belize, the infection rate is slowly improving, but today the Ministry of Health continued its annual free testing and awareness activities conducted by the Voluntary Counseling and Testing Unit. According to Nurse Margaret Bradley, their target was at least two hundred fifty persons. The Director of National HIV/AIDS Programs, Dr. Marvin Manzanero also told us that they had additional tests and incentives today.

Dr. Marvin Manzanero, Dir of National HIV/AIDS Programs, MOH

marvin manzanero

“As you see here we are doing HIV testing which is part of routine process we do every year as a prevention strategy. However, this year not only are doing HIV testing, there’s blood pressure checks, glucose checks. We have somebody from the mental health unit trying to do some prevention as well , educational sessions, we have people from PASMO, Hand in Hand Ministries, we’re trying to do a joint effort here.  As an incentive for people who get tested, we’re doing a raffle. We’re getting a phone so that should be an incentive for people coming in to get tested. As you notice there were also some balloons that were let go a couple of minutes earlier in memory of those who have passed away, victims of HIV and/or AIDS.”

margaret bradley

Nurse Margaret Bradley, Voluntary Counseling and Testing Unit

“When a person comes out we try to provide as much privacy as we can then they wait for the results. Then we call them inside where nobody is listening to us giving them the results so that if we have a positive the—and right now too we are not giving out written results because we find that people use those results to tell people I’m negative but remember that if you do your test today, you’re negative today not tomorrow or the day after. So we stop giving it out so we give a little appointment card and that will say come for your second test, third test. Some people it takes a long time for them to accept but we try to walk them through the denial, the acceptance because I feel that when you’re more readily accepting that you have this virus then you’re more adherent to the treatment. Now we have treatment and the Ministry of Health is providing a lot of things for you who are positive.”

The free testing ran until four this afternoon.

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3 Responses for “Universal Access and Human rights observed on World Aids Day”

  1. Earl Grey says:

    UNTIL THE NUMBERS ARE REDUCED……………………….. WE HAVE A PROBLEM……. BIG PROBLEM.

  2. macal rivera says:

    YES, OUR COUNTRY WILL CONTINUE HAVE A PROBLEM UNTIL EACH INDIVIDUAL OF THIS COUNTRY MAKE A POSITIVE CHANGE IN THEIR LIVES TO STAY NEGATIVE!!!

    ONLY THEN WE WILL SEE THE NUMBERS REDUCED.
    ABSTAIN
    BE FAITHFUL
    CONDOM EVERY TIME THEY HAVE SEX.
    THESE ARE THE CHOICES.

  3. RadicalBelizean says:

    Nurse Bradley, great work.

    Would it be better to test the person and give the result on another day? I am definitely not criticising more of a curiosity. Is it because of the risk that the person would not come back for the results? In my work experience (at Terrence Higgins Trust and other clinics) most people preferred the rapid testing however as you rightly said counselling and privacy are paramount and so I can imagine it would be tricky balancing this at such an event. So well done.

    Its also true about the HIV+ results needing to go through the five stages of grief – denial, anger, depression etc before they will be ready to accept the positive results, and then subsequently be able to work in partnership with their healthcare providers to fight the virus by adhering to their ARVs, and living a healthy lifestyle etc.

    Any idea what was the uptake on the day? I like the idea of capturing other public health conditions. Was there an opportunity to screen for other STDs such as chlamydia (urine sample), syphilis and hepatitis (blood samples)? Sorry I don’t know the prevalence rate of these in Belize.

    I am pleased to see the work being done.

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